County of Marin Health and Human Services

Public Health Newsletter, May 2018

Public Health Newsletter, May 2018
Marin County Public Health Newsletter Volume 6 - Issue 5 - May 2018
In this Issue: Vaping | Pertussis | Syphilis | Foster Care | Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer
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A message to physicians and other health care providers from Marin County's Public Health Officer.

Vaping and Marijuana

The annual National Institute of Health's Monitoring the Future Study, which tracks drug use among high schoolers, shows nearly 1 in 3 seniors reported vaping in the past year.   Of these, 11% vaped marijuana oil or hash.  Marijuana initiation in adolescence is known to be associated with poor social and educational outcomes, and evidence is accumulating of an association with early onset psychosis and suicidality.  Health care providers play an important role in screening adolescents and counseling families regarding substance use.

Pertussis Outbreak 

The surge of pertussis (whooping cough) in Marin County continues.   The pertussis vaccine remains the best defense, along with screening, treatment and prophylaxis for high risk contacts.   To protect new mothers and their young babies, pregnant women should receive Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy between their 27th and 36th week.  In this outbreak setting, providers can discuss the risks and benefits of an accelerated vaccination schedule for newborns (e.g., if born to a family with known exposure to pertussis.)  Visit the Marin HHS' Communicable Disease Prevention and Control unit's Pertussis Update for more information.

Syphilis Strikes Back

Since 2014, syphilis rates have increased across the county, state and nation.   Men in general, and gay and bisexual men specifically, continue to face the highest levels of syphilis.   In recent years, syphilis has also risen among women.  One of the most disturbing trends is increasing rates of congenital syphilis.   Since 2013, the number of babies in California born with congenital syphilis has more than quadrupled --- to 278 last year.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed the Guide to Taking a Sexual History, for providers.  Screen your patients for STDs today!

Foster Our Future

Our community needs exceptional people who can provide loving, temporary homes to children in foster care.  While each year, approximately 80 children in Marin County need temporary (foster) homes, we only have 35 approved homes.  Individuals with medical experience, those who can welcome siblings together, and those who are Spanish-speaking are especially needed.   Attend an orientation with a social worker and an experienced foster parent to learn more.  Visit www.FosterOutFutureMarin.org or call 415-473-2200 for more information.

Message from the Deputy Public Health Officer

Grey May is ending, school is almost out, and summertime is coming.  Drowning remains a leading cause of injury death for young children, ages 1 to 4.  As providers, we can encourage parents to prevent drownings by taking precautions.  On June 9th, from 10 am to 2pm, Marin Couty's Emergency Medical Services is offering free training countywise on Hands-Only CPR and Stop the Bleed.  CPR performed by bystanders has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes in drowning victims.  Stay safe and have a fun summer!
Warm Regards,
Lisa Santora
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Copyright (c) 2018
Matthew Willis MD, MPH
Marin County Public Health Officer
mwillis@marincounty.org
(415) 473-4163
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